Nishikori, Osaka give Japan historic tennis day at US Open

Kristopher Nichols
September 7, 2018

"It really means a lot to get to the semis", said Osaka whose post-match, on-court interview endeared her further to a growing legion of fans.

She dropped only seven points on her serve playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium and needed just 57 minutes to rip through Tsurenko.

The Ukrainian had a small window to grab momentum but failed to cash in on her three break-point opportunities while trailing 4-1 in the second set and Osaka fought back before cruising through the final game.

Kei Nishikori of Japan wins his quarter-final match against Marin Cilic of Croatia on day ten of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Osaka, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father, said she enjoyed playing in the blistering heat of NY which has been such a talking point of the tournament. The Illinoian is most comfortable on her forehand, but she can also do damage with her backhand which makes her incredibly hard to attack.

Japan's previous best was at Wimbledon in 1995, when both Shuzo Matsuoka and Kimiko Date lost in the quarter-finals.

"Well, in the mornings I don't play matches, I walk around and hear the lovely honking", Osaka said. The one Naomi endured was inflicted by Keys here in 2016, when the American came roaring back from a 5-1 deficit in the third set of their third-round clash to beat then-18-year-old Osaka.

Her semi-final opponent will contest a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time in her career, after taking out arguably the biggest threat to Serena and defending champion Sloane Stephens. "It would be really cool".

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It was a crucial moment and the 36-year-old quickly gained an advantage that she never threatened to lose. Open, a run that included a 6-1, 6-2 victory over her older sister Venus in the third round Friday night.

In their most recent match, which came earlier this year in Paris, Keys started well before edging the second set to take a 6-1 7-6 win.

"I felt good today". It was odd enough to see a player be allowed to do that during, instead of after, a set, but even odder for it to happen after an even number of games, rather than at an odd-game changeover.

Keys punched her ticket with a victory over Carla Suarez Navarro on Wednesday.

Osaka celebrated her win calmly and cooly unlike the floods of tears which greeted her last-16 victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

It's their first meeting as Williams makes her ninth straight Open semifinal appearance, discounting the ones she's missed (2017, 2010). "I think we're pretty similar in that sense".

In May this year, Williams won her first match back after the birth of her daughter Olympia, six months after the childbirth that left her unable to even walk to her mailbox.

The Californian has dropped just a single set so far at the 2018 edition of the U.S. slam, to Aleksandra Krunic in the third round, and has a 2-0 edge against her upcoming Japanese opponent. "I didn't want to show this kind of game in front of this big crowd, but unfortunately I'm just not able to play now".

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